I just had an idea I'm going to implement and utilize here--the idea being to both jumpstart this space a bit and to cut down on all those damn URLs I've stockpiled. It's simple: each time I gather another batch of new songs/podcasts/mixtapes that seem intriguing enough to copy, I will download and listen to the likeliest looking item at that sitting. This way I'm playing one new thing every day, or every weekday, and it's not just something in the shuffle. And I get to do a little real-time crit here, updating as opinions, as they do invariably, shift. I'm picking a busy time to start it--in 36 hours I'm getting on a train to Minneapolis, where I'll spend the 4th with my family, and then on the 6th I board Amtrak for New York, where I'm going to stay with my girlfriend while her folks are in Nova Scotia. I'll be there most of July and August.
Today's batch yielded Woebot's FACT Mix 61, which consists of 54 minutes of circa-'94 ambient jungle and, 13 minutes into it as I type this, sounds wonderful. Matthew Ingram is one of the bloggers who utilizes the medium to its fullest, and he's also a genuinely generous thinker, as in his Ian Dury entry here: "Was Dury really a pub-rocker? I don't think so. Pub-rock is better represented by the R'n'B-flavoured work of Nick Lowe, Rockpile, Dr Feelgood, John Otway, Graham Parker and (yes, sorry) Elvis Costello. Pub-rock tends to be a) Americanised b) all about the Rock, as opposed to dance, dynamic. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just less interesting!"
The era he's mining on this mix is one I know pretty well, but there were so many jungle records made--so many rave records made--we'll be spending a lifetime tracking it all down, from original releases to original DJ cassette mixes to pirate radio to various CD issues. Obviously, plenty has been documented, but there's a lot that hasn't been yet. And I know ambient jungle less well than jump-up or the minimalist stuff. So this is educational as well as a reimmersion in something I cared about a lot at the time, and still do. I do know a handful of tracks already (Jodeci's "Feenin' (LTJ Bukem Remix)," Danny Breaks's "Rollin' (EZ Rollers Remix)," D'Cruze's "Lonely"), but I haven't gotten to those yet.
No, I haven't completely caught up on my backlog. It's about nine hours of stuff from the previous list: 8 Ball, Sunn O))), Freeway, Gucci Mane, Cooly G, some Basement Jaxx remix someone sent me, Cuba Rough Guide, Blank Dogs single and album, Andy Milne. Tomorrow, my last day before I leave, I'll power through them.